Aircel-Maxis: CBI to probe approval by former FM P. Chidambaram

Written by Express news service | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 20 2014, 13:11pm hrs
P ChidambaramThe CBI is probing the 'circumstances' of P Chidambaram's approval to Maxis subsidiary for investing $800 mn in Aircel in 2006.
The CBI has said in its chargesheet that it is investigating the circumstances of the FIPB (Foreign Investment Promotion Board) approval granted by then Finance Minister P Chidambaram in connection with the Aircel- Maxis deal.

The chargesheet filed before the special court said the CBI is probing the circumstances of Chidambarams approval to Maxis subsidiary Global Communication Services Holdings Ltd for investing $800 million in Aircel Ltd in 2006. The CBI is also investigating all other related issues with regard to the FIPB approval, it said.

The CBI said the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was the competent authority to grant approval for the $800 million foreign investment which was not obtained and the Finance Minister was competent to grant approval for investments up to Rs 600 crore only.

When contacted, Chidambaram said, In the Aircel-Maxis case, the FIPB sought the approval of the Finance Minister in accordance with the rules. The case was submitted through the Additional Secretary and Secretary, DEA (Department of Economic Affairs). Both of them recommended the case for approval. Approval was granted by me, as Finance Minister, in the normal course.

The FIPB is chaired by the Secretary, DEA. It recommends proposals for the approval of the Finance Minister and, where required under the rules, the approval of the CCEA.

I understand that the officials of the FIPB who dealt with the matter have explained to the CBI that under the rules, as they stood then, the case required only the approval of the Finance Minister. I am sure the files will bear out the correctness of this position, said Chidambaram.

In August, the CBI had filed the chargesheet against former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran, his brother Kalanithi Maran, T Ananda Krishnan, Malaysian national Augustus Ralph Marshall and four firms Sun Direct TV Pvt Ltd, Maxis Communication Berhad, South Asia Entertainment Holding Ltd and Astro All Asia Network PLC.